tv MSNBC News Live MSNBC August 27, 2010 11:00am-12:00pm EDT
with little food and water. we watched those horrifying pictures by people let down by the government, some even died there. six deaths were confirmed that superdome and four bodies recovered at the convention center. we're not far away by the city's ninth ward, which was the hardest hit of new orleans when those levees broke. there we saw the pictures of people stranded on rooftops waiting to be rescued. 1,800 people died from katrina, mainly in louisiana and mississippi. remember, this area took a second hit a few weeks later with hurricane rita and it was still struggling to recover where the gulf oil disaster hit just this spring. the recovery here in new orleans has been held by $16.5 billion in federal funds for the region and many other people who love this city, including author tom
piazza. he took me on a tour of some of the hardest hit neighborhoods and introduced me to some of his friends along the way. so, tom, this is the 17th street canal. >> here is where one of the most serious breaches happened during katrina. if you had visited t eed this p two or three months after the storm, four months after the storm, six months after the storm, it looked truly like a war zone. just destruction every place, smashed houses, overturned cars. >> how jarring of a contrast is it to have a home, obviously, once here and now completely gone. the family choosing not to rebuild and then you look two steps away and you have a home on stilts. >> well, different people have different levels of tolerance for that kind of risk. you know, different levels of attachment to the area where they live. one of the things that we learned is it's probably best not to be too judgmental for the people that made the decision to leave.
it's an understandable decision. >> tell me about this area. >> right now we're standing in the heart of the town called midcity. little neighborhood restaurants and like where we are right here flooded to about that level of the canopy right there and i remember when they reopened in the spring of 2006. there was a big party out here, people were just so happy, it answered a need in people for a need to congregate. >> we will rebuild if you all rebuild. that was a shot in the arm. it just gave us the motivation and i think, in turn, we gave them the motivation also. >> obviously, much of the economy here sustains itself on tourism and we're in the heart of tourist land. >> the french quarter. >> how is the french quarter the french quarter and how has it recovered over five years? >> it's struggling a bit, but certainly the number of people who have been coming back to visit new orleans has increased
dramatically since after the storm. >> early on there was a fear that blacks would be forgotten, does that still exist that worry, that concern? >> the city is between 70% and 80% of its prekatrina population, which is to say a whole lot of people were displaced and a disproportionate number of those people are african-american and part of the problem is if you are well informed, if you have internet access and research skills, if you are good at working the phones, then there are various programs that are available to you. >> but that sounds simple, but you and i know, that's a lot for some people. >> exactly. >> you're looking at people who were living below the poverty line and you've already been beaten down by the storm and you feel like they don't want you back and that extra step could be hard. >> you've explained exactly why the government explanations of all the programs that are available are simply hollow. >> you hear a lot about these young visionaries who moved here
and they want to start their lives along with helping new orleans. >> well, this is like working in the middle of asia, only there's air condition and phone service back home. >> thank you, tom and louis and others. celebrities have come out in force to lend a helping hand and, oand one of them, of course, harry connick jr. he also created the city's musicians village together with saxophonist and fellow new orleans great bradford morsales. i spoke with harry about his love for his hometown and how this inspired him. >> is it surreal to be here at this point? >> it is so surreal. i remember sitting in the car with bradford driving from n houston to new orleans and we're both like, what do we do?
we're both new orleens. what do we do to help? we were so concerned that new orleans traditional music would disappear because it was sort of teetering prior to the hurricane anyway and afterwards it was destitute. we were going to do something, but we didn't know what it was. we decided to start the musicians village to concentrate on getting homes built for people now that the homes are built, we have 80 residences and we started construction. >> you know, the days after the storm and the images of the people begging for help and you being right there, when you look back and here we are five years later, how do you articulate what that feels like? >> it is hard to articulate because i can't believe how fast it happened. i remember talking to branford and he said if you look at any major catastrophe, at any point,
if you think about 80% of a city being wiped out, it takesñi 20 years to put a city back on the map, if at all. especially when there's people out there saying, don't do it. it's below sea level. a bunch of poor people, whatever they're saying. and it's blossoming. it's becoming a better city than it was. it's retaining all the tradition that it had, but becoming more modernized. my manager told me right after, i was so angry right after the storm and she said, just focus on what you're trying to do. no reason to get political about it. no reason to point fingers and i never did and that's just not our style. >> if you were angry then, what are you now? >> i'm elated. i'm optimistic and elated. it's here. i just can't believe that when i pulled up and saw the center that it's actually going, do you know how many jam sessions and lessons and recordings and events are going to be in that
place? that place is going to become a legendary place. >> in a couple more years, what would you like to see here? >> i just want to go in that center and play. i really do. i want to play with branford there and just make eye contact with him on the stage and say, like, bro, this is, this is -- >> this is our dream. and it happened. >> it's crazy. just unbelievable that it's really happening. just have one place that you know you can always go. it's almost like a church. you know what i mean, a lot of people pray at home, but it's really nice to be able to go and have that communial sort of energy and that's what this is going to be. >> and harry will have his dream complete when he does play at the ellis marcellus music center. you saw them put the fleur de le on top of the building. for a closer look at what life
is like, i'm joined by my friend. of course, a lot of people never traveled to this area. what is st. bernard parish. what kind of area was it before katrina? >> it is the neighboring parish. that area was starting to come back and the momentum coming back from katrina and then another disaster unfolded. >> how are you making out with it, grandpa? >> reporter: tim gonzalez's family lived here for five generations. shrimping and boating was the way of life. but their life was wrecked by hurricane katrina. >> the water came up so high, it floated it away. >> reporter: not only their homes gone, but their livelihood, as well. >> it was real scary because we didn't know what the fishing was going to be. your whole livelihood is going to change. you know your house has to be redone. >> reporter: tim wasn't alone. only five homes in st. bernard parish were spared hurricane
katrina's damage. water rose 128 feet and 163 people lost their lives. >> people are in a state of actual shock and not having any idea what really was going to become of our community. >> reporter: five years later, the community is coming back and the scars remain. entire blocks of homes and businesses stand empty and many are still marked by destruction. >> there's a real sense of togetherness and unity and pride about about not being beaten, especially by any storm. >> reporter: just as st. bernard parish was bouncing back from the storm, the oil spill hit. >> it's like being a prize fighter and we're in round 12 or 13 and we get up out of the corner to answer the bell for the next round and we look across and there's a new opponent. >> reporter: unlike katrina, this opponent is harder to read. >> this is actually more scary to me than katrina was. i could build a house. i could build a boat. i've done it before.
i can't build an ecosystem. i can't build breeding grounds for shrimp. >> reporter: the parish will continue to push bp to make things right but it's unclear how the way of life will return. but time and time again this community has risen to the challenge. >> because they know saving their coasts and their marsh and their seafood is something that's not an option. >> and, tamron, the population prekatrina 67,000, today it's about 43,000. it lost a big chunk of its people. but they are very resilient and they want to stay there and they are going to. >> i have been reading a lot of the families who have not return are people with children. you can understand that, the uncertainty of what is ahead, whether the education system is going to be up to par, can the kids deal with trying to rebuild again. many of those families in st. bernard parish and throughout this region are families.
that's a great report. >> the oil spill certainly didn't help matters. >> just another blow. much more ahead as we continue our special coverage of katrina five years later. coming up, what's the lasting impact of katrina? will this city decimated by the storm, is it possible it could ever fully return? will we see an old new orleans? i talked to new orleans radio talk show host and he actually started his first day on the job the day katrina hit. and later from ruin to recovery. the tale of two mississippis when msnbc news returns live from new orleans five years after katrina. [ female announcer ] stay once...
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live from new orleans. i'm on the banks of the mississippi. right behind me over my shoulder is the french quarter and those folks you see walking along, those are the visitors and tourists that so many of the people who worked out in this area have been hoping they would come back to new orleans. see some people here even with their dog. these are not sights you would have seen here five years ago. also, looking at the landscape of the city,ñi i'm not very far from the superdome, not far from the convention center where people started to move towards those areas, not aware how devastating katrina would actually be in the end. you see a round circle, kind of oval building, that's the aquarium. new orleans aquarium, great family spot t was destroyed. you might recall the rescue of the dolphins that were at that aquarium. the greater new orleans bridge and over to the side. for the first time i came to new orleans i came right before hurricane katrina hit.
the first time my hotel i stay at in the french quarter was sold out. cook up the great new orleans cuisine and many of them are returning to work and smut of a better life, in some cases. we'll talk much more about that. but in the meantime, we turn to a man who has been known as an institution in new orleans. the famous interview he conducted with mayor ray nagin when he said those words, we need help. it was his first day essentially on the job. he was actually filling in for a friend on the radio station and i talked with him about being the voice of new orleans during that very difficult night and time. >> it was supposed to be a one-night only occasion and five years later, you're still here. but take me back to the night that all hell broke loose. >> i filled in for my buddy,
this was his show. a couple of times because he was having health problems. he said, i'm really sick, can you come in tonight? we've seen many hurricanes, a clue was when we opened up the broadcasting we said, okay, we made it. nothing, nada. and then we knew something's not right. and then we saw the water come in and we knew, big trouble. >> when you look out your window now, garland, what do you see? what new orleans do you see? >> infustructure not in place. lots and lots of housing next to the people that put all their savings into coming back. people still trying to get back building. but can't get it done. >> you have some blacks and some who are poor who feel like they weren't invited back to the
party. >> right. and they weren't. a lot of them weren't. but i've gotten one hope that is changing. his name is mitch landrieu, he's the new mayor. his father broke the color barrier in the city. i knew this guy for decades. his full intention is to make a color blind city. >> do you believe in the army corps? are these levees safe? >> i am told yes. everybody in particular city group, citizen groups have been watching them like hawks. they tried to build two levees putting rocks and cement and stuff thrown into it that is not allowed and they were caught and they had to tear it down. they are one of the most monolithic and powerful agencies that the american people never pay attention to. the very unusual thing was the worst thing that happened to us was katrina. the best thing that happened to us was katrina. it's the feeling of before
katrina we didn't know how bad we were. educationally, economy wise, job wise. and we didn't want to hear it. now we got hit in the face. >> the bubble was burst, if you will. >> we don't have any choice, we have to survive. >> sink or swim. brings about creativity and invasii innovati innovation. with all the treading water where we are, i think there's a possibility we will benefit in ,zaayrñ looking at a beautiful here in new orleans. the west bank of the mississippi right across the greater new orleans bridge. coming up, i don't want to paint a picture through rose colored glasses, a lot of people still struggling. over in pontchartrain park, they're trying to move back in and a great actor, great man, windle pierce, it was his neighborhood devastated, almost every home in that community and
he's fighting to bring those folks back home. we're going to talk with him right after this break. time for the your business entrepreneur of the week. he was a hot ticket at this year's comic-con. he's cultivated anes market and it's paying off. ♪ keep feeling fascination ♪ passion burning ♪ love is so strong ♪
♪ love is so strong no oil has flowed into the gulf for weeks, but it's just the beginning of our work. i'm iris cross. bp has taken full responsibility for the clean up in the gulf and that includes keeping you informed. my job is to listen to the shrimpers and fishermen, hotel and restaurant workers and find ways to help. that means working with communities. we have 19 centers in 4 states. we've made over 120,000 claims payments, more than $375 million. we've committed $20 billion to an independent claims fund to cover lost income until people impacted can get back to work. we'll keep looking for oil, cleaning it up if we find it and restoring the gulf coast. i was born in new orleans. my family still lives here. bp is gonna be here until the oil is gone and the people and businesses are back to normal... until we make this right.
katrina left 80% of new orleans under water forces thousands of residents from their homes. five years later, rebuilding efforts continue but many living in trailers. about 860 are living in trailers at this moment. the ninth ward was especially hard hit and here is a look at what it looks like these days. one person who has been active in helping to rebuild this area and others in the city is actor wendell pierce. he plays trombone.
amazing culture that was hit by katrina, as well. wendell pierce is also the president of the pontchartrain park community. this is personal for you. >> very much so. i grew up here in pontchartrain park it was this blue collar neighborhood that was build in the 1950s as an answer to the civil rights advocacy, it was the first place where african-americans could purchase homes after world war ii and the 1950s suburbia boom and my father just came back from japan fighting in world war ii and purchased a home there with so many other black g.i.s and it was supporting something ugly like separate and equal, they took it and made some it something equal. a perfect place to grow up. >> after the levees fell five years ago, what did that community look like when you went back the first time? >> we were totally devastated. we were in some of the deepest flooding. there was, the levee system
around our neighborhood actually protected us from the industrial canal and lake pontchartrain, but it was like five miles away, the eternal flooding that came rushing east towards our city and it filled up like a bathtub and i thought then the neighborhood wouldn't come back, i thought it was dead. my parents had built something too important, too beautiful to let go. so, like moses generation passing on and called action to the people of my generation so that we can come back and rebuild the neighborhood. >> what response did you get to your call of action? >> great response. everyone felt the same way i did. they knew that the neighborhood was too important to let go and it's anchored by the historic gulf course designed by bartholomew who designed most of the courses in new orleans but couldn't play on them. we realized our parents in the 70s and 80s and they didn't have the where withal. we decided to bring back people
and this call to action was heard. troy henry was the first person i called who was a childhood friend who is developing the building plans for new orleans with his consulting group and i called him and i said we need to do this for our neighborhood. this group that works nationally and we put together, i think, one of the most comprehensive platforms to rebuild new orleans. >> 500 homes in four years. you're in it to win it. >> we're here for the long term. we're not here overnight. we're exercising our right of self-determination and that's what's on display here for the world to see. >> self-determination and pride. which in some cases were taken away from people standing out in front of it or inside the convention center and at the superdome. the return of pride. you're the pride of this town because of trime on hbo, again,
fantastic show. exposing the country to a neighborhood that many didn't know it existed. >> it is the most important plot is congo square where captured africans were allowed on sunday to play and trade with free people of color. haitians had migrated there from haiti and gotten independence early and they combined it with europe and of africa and it became jazz. >> there you go. there you go. well, wendell, we're so proud of you and i know that so many in this community just absolutely love you, not because you're a great actor, but because you're a good man. you've done great work. >> thank you, thank you for all the attention. we're demonstrating what new orleans always knew we had. that's resilience.
after a 30-foot storm surge devastated the gulf coast, we are looking at how two towns are rebuilding five years later. you want to see this, it's a stirring report. a desperate decision made at the height of the storm and what it meant for people who were forced to leave their beloved pets behind. a triple threat is brewing in the atlantic including a major hurricane and a tropical storm. the latest from the weather channel ahead. [ female announcer ] stay once... stay twice... earn a free night! two separate stays at comfort inn or any of these choice hotels can earn you a free night -- only when you book at choicehotels.com. time to face the pollen that used to make me sneeze... my eyes water. but now zyrtec®, the fastest 24-hour allergy relief, comes in a liquid gel. zyrtec® liquid gels work fast, so i can love the air®.
along the gulf coast communities continue to pick up the pieces five years after hurricane katrina. some areas far better off than others. and two of those cities facing different roads to recovery are waveland and biloxi. let's get a closer look now from nbc mark potter who is live in waveland, mississippi. mark? >> well, good afternoon to you, good morning to you, tamron. the situation here in waveland is still one of rebuilding. this town absolutely was obliterated by the storm. the eyewall came through here, a 30-foot storm surge came to this knocking down, destroying 95% of the homes, 100% of the businesses and all the city structures and just as importantly, the entire tax base. so, they had to start all over again from the ground up. now, what you're looking at behind me now is city hall. five years later, this is where they are in rebuilding city hall. they're also doing the same with
the police complex down the road. they're rebuilding businesses and trying to build the homes back. the population here now is down 35% over what it was before the storm and, so, it's a steady progress but slow progress and they've got a long, long way to go. now, down the road in biloxi, it's been a little bit easier to get started. the casinos there got up and running in the first year and had a billion dollar year right after the storm and that helped in terms of tax revenues for the city. so t was easier to get started there, but they have problems, too. the town population is down about 20% and the east biloxi area where the working class families are near the water and that population is down 45%. they are fewer schools now and the new historic homes for which the city was famous. the antibellum homes went down, 50 of them and only a couple have been rebuilt because of the high price of construction and insurance. so, there is no place along the mississippi gulf coast yet that
has been rebuilt. all these towns have a long, long way to go and particularly waveland. they're working hard every day, but they have a long way to go because they start would nothing. tamron? >> and, mark, i got to ask you, you bring up the statistics on the working class and those who did not have or don't have the money to just try to put it back and rebuild. i think it comes as a surprise to some people that that is still happening, that, in a way, these people are still being let down, may it be by the insurance companies or whatever programs that were supposed to help get them back in their homes. >> the biggest culprit that we hear everybody talking about is the high price of insurance building a new home and insuring. it costs more to insure it than to pay the mortgage. there are new rules, you need to elevate the homes now. there is a reason for that. that water was really high and you need to to that, but that raises the cost of construction. adding also, tamron, to the problem, the recession.
it hit at a really bad time in terms of the recovery here and then this year we all know about the oil spill and the effect that it had on the coastal communities here in mississippi. scaring away businesses, affecting tourism and affecting the fishing industry. the recession really hurt the businesses that were going to come in here. a lot of them pulled out on their plans. so, there's been a one, two, three, four-punch here in terms of rebuilding in this area and that's why the population in east biloxi is now down 45%. there are neighborhoods here where all you see are just fields where there used to be crowded neighborhood and the mayor tells us that is the hardest pot fhar hardest part for him to see because every time he sees a slab that was a family or a home there and that breaks his heart. >> a question people often ask, why stay? with all the things you just laid out, the concerns and the realities, why are those who are willing to stay doing so?
>> i asked that of the mayor of biloxi. that's a great question. i asked that of the mayor of biloxi and he said when you get salt in your blood, you can't leave. and this is a beautiful area. this is the gulf of mexico right to your south. it's a gorgeous area and lovely people and so a lot of people decided to fight to stay here, but it's been an uphill battle. these are tough folks and they have their families here and they have their friends but sadly so many of their friends have gone away because they couldn't afford to rebuild. it was just too difficult. but those who stayed, that's why, that salt gets in your blood and they can't see living anywhere else. >> nbc's mark potter live for us this hour in waveland, mississippi, mark, thank you very much. and, by the way, you won't want to miss "meet the press" this sunday from new orleans. it will be moderated by brian williams. brian's guests will include mary landrieu and new orleans mayor mitch landrieu and he'll also have an interview with actor
brad pitt who is helping rebuild homes in the lower ninth. check your local listings for those times. we'll get back to our special coverage of katrina in just a minute, but, first, a triple threat is brewing in the atlantic right now including a major hurricane. let's get the latest now from the weather channel's eric fisher in atlanta. eric, what is the update there? >> this time of year, there is just a flip of a switch and all of a sudden things heat up very quick and in full swing right now. several systems as they move their way across the atlantic. you can see in the far edge of your screen is danielle, all the way to the left. behind that is earl, that's a tropical storm and on its heels a wave fiona this weekend and another wave that will depart the coast as we head into the weekend and that could see development as we head out into time. all areas we will be watching over the next few days. a closer look at what is happening here. hurricane danielle, a major
category 4 hurricane. tropical storm earl and the national hurricane center is giving that other wave right behind it a 70% chance of developing as we head into the weekend. there's the visible satellite image and impressive storm, ones we like to see because they're not near land. if we show you the latest information and the track here, this will not affect the lower 48. the latest information as of 11:00 right now winds stand at 135 miles per hour. the storm is moving off to the north and the west and it will be taking more of a turn to the north over time as we head through the next few hours here. you can watch the storm as it does move off to the northwest at 12 miles an hour. eventually, it will take a path just to the east of bermuda and perhaps seeing tropical storm force winds on the island of bermuda but the hurricane force winds should stay out to see and rapidly accelerating out to the north atlantic. tropical storm earl that track a little more interesting and more of a southerly route and affecting the islands, the
leeward islands as we head towards monday and that could be a hurricane by middle next week. could be close to the lower 48. something people will want to keep a very close eye on. tamron? >> we're also getting clearer images of what life is like for those 33 miners trapped underground in chile. new video just out today shows the men all shirtless, some sitting and standing and from the looks of things, it's pretty hot. 2,300 feet below the surface of the earth, the chilean government released this stirring video. some men speak directly to camera sending messages to their loved ones. you can see the men arm in arms singing chile's anthem. the men are still waiting to be rescued, which may not happen until christmas. former president jimmy carter is now headed back to boston after a successful trip to north korea to free an american man. carter flew to north korea this week on a private mission to free 31-year-old gomes who had
been jailed there for illegally entering the country. the country granted carter's request to forgive gomes. he was sentenced in april to eight years of hard labor. the north korean news agency said the former president met with that country's number two official while he was there. and we've got an important new reading on the economy this morning, the government reported the economy grew at a much slower pace than previously estimated. 1.6% versus the original estimate of 2.4%, but that was still better than what analysts expected. meantime this morning fed chairman ben bernanke is assuring that the fed can take further action. he offered his most extensive thoughts yet on how to help the slumping economy at an annual fed sim posium. let's look at wall street. the dow is up now 108 and back above 10,000 after closing below 10,000 yesterday. that was the first time, actually, since early july. nbc news has learned that a
public school in mississippi is proposing to segregate student elections for leadership positions like class president and vice president by race. that's according to a memo. the school sent home with children last week. it was obtained by nbc news. the memo from nettleton, mississippi, said only xhit students can run for eighth grade president while only black students can run for vice president. in the seventh grade the positions of president and vice president are to be filled by white only. when nbc contacted the school for comment they directed us to a statement on the website of the school district. the school superintendent writes "student elections have not yet been held at nettleton middle school for the 2010-2011 school term. the processes and procedures for student elections are under review." i'd sure like to know if you think that is crossing the line. you can twitter us on any of the things you've seen in this hour.
more continuing coverage of hurricane katrina five years later. msnbc news live from new orleans today. when we return, we'll hear from the owner of a new orleans institution sidmars. >> unfortunately, the storm got really bad and took a turn right at us and sure enough when i came back in september '05, there was nothing left. i mean nothing. [ male announcer ] this is steven, a busy man. his day starts with his arthritis pain. that's breakfast with two pills. the morning is over, it's time for two more pills. the day marches on, back to more pills. and when he's finally home... but hang on; just two aleve can keep arthritis pain away all day with fewer pills than tylenol. this is steven, who chose aleve and 2 pills for a day free of pain. and get the all day pain relief of aleve in liquid gels.
no oil has flowed into the gulf for weeks, but it's just the beginning of our work. i'm iris cross. bp has taken full responsibility for the clean up in the gulf and that includes keeping you informed. my job is to listen to the shrimpers and fishermen, hotel and restaurant workers and find ways to help. i was born in new orleans. my family still lives here. bp is gonna be here until the oil is gone and the people and businesses are back to normal... until we make this right.
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jeff corwin will look back at one family's pet ordeal. >> i have two animals and i could not imagine being forced to leave them behind. save your own life for these people. >> tamron, as a pet owner, they become parts of your family and that became all too clear when we discovered one family's harrowing journey as they come face-to-face with this deadly storm and how it impacted their pets. take a look, how it impacted her life was profound. >> it's coming up. >> reporter: this is the beginning of a nightmare for dana lebert. lebert stands helplessly recording this video as flood waters swamp her family's home. where her and her dog went to ride out the storm. >> i wasn't married and he was actually like my child.
>> reporter: how fast was that water flowing? >> it was following us up on our heels. >> reporter: the water is chasing you. >> yes, sir. >> reporter: how high did it get? >> it got to about up here. >> reporter: after eight sweltering hours in their attic, they are rescued and brought to this high school gym. you spent three miserable days in the shelter and it's time to leave what happens. >> the fireman came in and told us no one is coming to get us, we need to walk it out and that the pets would not be allow under to the boats. we had to leave them here. before i left i told them, you know, mama will be back and take care of zoey and he took care of zoey, we found zoey but tabias was never found. >> reporter: one lesson they learned is pets are far more than animals or property, they become members of our family and according to a major study, the number one reason why people did not evacuate this deadly storm
is that they refused to abandon their pets. >> people were faced with terrible choices that never should have had to be made. >> reporter: loretta lambert of is still haunted as things she saw as a first responder rescuing animals during katrina. >> fw was the symbol we would use saying we left food and water for any animals that we were unable to rescue. >> reporter: she says the good news is that 15,000 pets were rescued during katrina and new laws mean animals won't be left behind. >> there was legislation passed in louisiana, post-katrina, which requires communities to incorporate animals into that process. and that legislation became model legislation for the national pets acts. >> tamron, it really was a remarkable experience to hear dana's story and hear the story and it's important to note that the legislature that was passed
here in 2006 really has led to a national movement. whenever there is another catastrophe or another hurricane or an event like that, people can rest assured that you will not have to abandon your pets. >> there's one change that has happened as a result of the sadness brought out with katrina. thank you very much. you have been just amazing from the bp oil spill and the wildlife how it has been affected to this. you're the man. thank you. by the way, you may hear that little tweeting sound behind us, that's the steam boat. it's my mother's favorite thing. she sits out on this bank and listens to that. >> i'm glad my 7-year-old isn't here, because it would be daddy, daddy, daddy, get me on that boat. >> in the meantime, read more about new orleans and the gulf coast five years after the storm logon to katrina.msnbc.com for life after katrina. me, jeff, we'll all still hang out here and the steam boat
there's a picture of a tugboat there. another beautiful day in new orleans. but we know five years ago, almost to the day, it was not the case in this great american city. for years, though, sidmars was a popular destination. and then hurricane katrina wiped away the waterfront eatery. but earlier this year, it reopened and its's comeback wasa needed boost. the story in their own words. >> it was a fixture that you
would come and sit down with your family and have some good hometown cooking. my mother and father started it in '67. we were located in a little fishing village on the outskirts of new orleans. the back porch overlooked lake pontchartrain. you would see fishing guys come in and you'd have access to everything right there. august 2005, seems like yesterday, we had been through so many storms this. at first i thought we could do this. unfortunately, this storm got really bad and took a turn right at us. and sure enough when i came back in september '05, i mean, there was nothing left. nothing. i couldn't find a dish, a stove, anything. i had to be the man of the house and kind of take it all in and just say, look, we'll get back on our feet. i made one phone call and all these people quit their jobs and came running back because we're family. i knew it would be a different
place and i was concerned about how it would be received in the community. we opened up the first friday with an hour and a half wait. we got everything, all your seafood, oyster, shrimp. i don't see anything but louisiana seafood. >> everything that comes back is meaningful. when you lose also pieces of your life, it's like the community lost its life and to make it whole again, you need these businesses to come back. >> and still today people come in that didn't know we were open and say i'm on glad you're back. it makes feel like we're coming back from the storm. katrina didn't knock everybody done. >> and it's just one of the stories of restaurant owners fighting to get back. one of my favorites, people put post it notes all over begging them to reopen their doors and i'm happy to say that they did. i'm tamron hall, i will see you back here at 2:00 p.m. we'll have a look at the areas
around new orleans just as devastated as katrina. how have they recovered. plus my interview with spike lee, talking about his new documenter to and how the bp oil spill has impacted the region. contessa brewer, what do you have? >> we have an incredible story of a school essentially segregating students for class positions. segregating them according to race. it is not a story from 1954. it's 2010. and an outraged mom is joining us. don't miss that after a quick break. e night! two separate stays at comfort inn or any of these choice hotels can earn you a free night -- only when you book at choicehotels.com.